Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Gloria Kirwan
Speaking Truth to Power: Informing Mental Health Care Through Service Users Narratives
Findings from research with mental health service users regarding their experiences of service usage
Trinity College Dublin
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields
A narrative study investigating experiences of participation by long-term mental health service users reveals the struggle this group encounters when bringing attention to the social factors which they believe are directly relevant to either the onset or the persistence of their mental health problems. In the narratives of their lived journey through diagnosis and treatment, the study participants highlighted the impact on their mental wellbeing of issues such loss, tragedy, fear, poverty, abuse and violence. In many of the narratives, participants also recounted how such issues were sometimes misunderstood, ignored or dismissed by the service providers they met. This presentation analyses the implications for mental health users of speaking 'truth' to those who hold 'power' over their treatment journey, particularly when the information they share goes unheeded or unaddressed. The presentation will consider the extent to which these narratives raise questions about the suitability of mental health services as the forum in which 'social' issues should be addressed.